How are your holiday plans shaping up for the rest of the year? The answer for most of us is, not great. Things are more than a little uncertain right now, and the tourist industry is not faring wonderfully.
Doom and gloom aside, the autumn brings us some rather spectacular sights right here in the UK. To say that times are changeable is an enormous understatement, of course. But, as we’re forced to find previously disregarded delights in our backyard, it may be that pandemic or not, autumns in the UK become the new normal.
Where do Brits go on holiday the most?
Would it surprise you if we said that Spain was the most popular tourist destination for us Brits? Restrictions to travel have been a massive blow to many, as they attempt to keep to previous plans or make their usual booking to sunny Spain this autumn.
Let’s be honest though, some of us have always liked a good old staycation. Yes, the weather may be unpredictable. Ok, you haven’t got sun, sea and sand. Well, not the warm kind anyway. But an autumnal jaunt across these isles isn’t all bad, far from it.
When it comes to inspired choices, places like Cornwall and Devon have always topped the polls for Brits looking for a UK holiday. You’ll probably swap the swimsuit for walking boots, but that sounds pretty good if you think about the vistas in store.
What can you do in autumn in the UK?
We don’t need to do much scene-setting here. It's autumn. It's the UK. The nights are drawing in, and temperatures cooling down. The mist may be settling over the peaks in more romantic destinations like the Lake District. It all sets the tone perfectly for outdoorsy pursuits and cosy nooks post-ramble.
If you prefer to take your holidays easy, you don’t have to throw your particular rulebook out of the window either. Take it easy! It's your holiday, after all. And here are some ways you can mix it up and have fun while you’re away:
- Pick pumpkins – don your wellies, pour a coffee in your reusable cup and get out into the fields to pick your pumpkin. Then carve it back in your holiday home, make soup, make a mess, make a silly pumpkin face. Whatever floats your boat.
- Explore the countryside – whether you want to roam far or just sample the fresh air, a walk through somewhere woody and autumnal will bring the colour to your cheeks and give you a view of the turning seasons in full glory.
- Plan a fright night – if you’re away during Halloween, and especially if you’re fortunate to have a family with you, make a thing of it. Get dressed up, throw a little family party at your holiday home and take plenty of photos to document the silliness.
- Get crafty – buy some paper and glue, then collect leaves and pinecones to make collages with the grandkids or build a birdfeeder to spot some seasonal wildlife close up.
- Plan a picnic – bundle up, find a view in the countryside and pack your favourite treats. Then settle down with blankets and steaming drinks in thermos flasks to enjoy a well-earned break from the world with your favourite people around you.
Hayley from Devon Mama told us: "Going away in the Autumn months is always our preference, popular sites in the UK tend to be quieter, the costs a little kinder on the pocket and the weather can be more manageable than in the busy Summer months with its hotter days - arm yourself with waterproofs and a hot flask and there'll be nowhere you can't explore.
"Just because it's not the middle of the summer, doesn't rule out things like beach holidays either! As people who live within 10 minutes of the beach, I can promise you that an autumnal day at the beach is far more enjoyable than an overcrowded beach in August.
"Plus let's face it, there's nothing nicer than snuggling up back at your holiday accommodation after a windswept day of exploring complete with a takeaway for a cosy night in."
Where should I go on holiday in autumn?
Now you have some ideas on how you could spend your holiday, it’s time to lift the lid on the best locations. There are places across the UK that fit the bill more than a little perfectly.
Just think about what kind of views you’re after because these trips will be all about the outdoorsy stuff. And pick a holiday home that offers plenty of comforts, so you can snuggle up in style when you’re not out exploring.
Here are five popular areas to start your search:
- Orkney – if bird spotting and wild, windy views are your things, this is your piece of heaven.
- Somerset – known for its autumnal apple harvests, Somerset’s scenic wonders also give you an excuse to head out and pick some of your own.
- Norfolk – the seaside delights of Norfolk may not be Spain, but its golden sands and atmospheric skies are as good as.
- Cumbria - there may be a chance for your swimsuits after all. The Lake District is known for its wild swimming, and my, are the views to die for.
- Yorkshire – filled with romantic, sweeping views and quaint towns, Yorkshire delivers big on charm and history.
Tips for booking an autumn holiday in the UK
If you are still wondering whether it’s safe to book a staycation at this time, always check out the latest government guidance. There may be an element of risk if you have to cancel, but as long as you’re in the know when it comes to potential issues, you can plan.
Once you’re there, plan activities that you can enjoy, regardless of any updates to guidelines. Being prepared means packing smart and having the right things with you. Here are some things to bear in mind during the planning stage:
- Check the small print – this includes any accommodation or attractions to see if you’re covered if cancelling is the only option.
- Pack for the weather – wellies, hiking boots and warm waterproof clothing are the best ways to stay comfortable during your outdoor adventures.
- Embrace homely pursuits – evenings out and lunches in town may be off the menu. Still, with the right facilities back in your holiday home, you can whip up a feast and get cosy.
- Bring the right tech with you – getting away from your digital devices is important, but contact with loved ones is limited at this time. An evening video call may be just the thing to lift your spirits.
There’s no dressing it up. Autumn holidays will feel very different for some this year; however, it's still a time to celebrate being with those we love, and taking time out is essential. So, refocus, enjoy your staycation and remember, you deserve this time to yourselves.